Building & Targeting a Custom Audience with Facebook & Instagram Advertisements

How Do You Display Certain Ads to Certain Audiences?

This is a question I get asked a lot, often by the individuals I decide to target with particular ads after they see them. I actually woke up this morning to a text message of a Valentine’s Day ad we’re only targeting current clients for, and they were amazed that the message reached them directly. Let’s take a look at how you can use Facebook Ads to reach the right customers, with the right message, at the right time.

Building Your Custom Audience on FB & IG

Whether you’re launching ads to re-connect with your existing customers or reach untapped audience pools, the first step is building your audience. The most important aspect of building your audience is to use all the data at your disposal to get in front of the individuals who display the highest statistical likelihood of completing a pre-defined goal. Are you trying to promote a product? Schedule consultations? Sell event tickets?

Once you’ve clearly defined the purpose of your ads, you can begin building your first audience. With Facebook Ads Manager, which gives advertisers the ability to display their advertisements across Facebook’s suite of apps and services (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp), business owners can quickly learn  to navigate buidling audiences. If you’re starting to build your audience from scratch, here’s where you’ll want to start:     

  1. User Demographics – You can begin by identifying your ideal customer. Demographics such as age, gender, income, job, the device they’re likely using are valuable bits of information to build the foundation of your custom audience. 
  2. Interests & Behaviors – What do your customers like? What are the hobbies, activities, and types of entertainment they’re involved in? Are there other brands similar to yours that they could be following? These are just a few of the questions you need to be asking yourself when targeting specific audience interests. 
  3. Location – Additionally, you can set specific geo-fenced parameters for a target audience. For example, if you’re promoting a  local event in Philadelphia, PA – it wouldn’t make sense for your advertisement to be displayed on the west coast or a foreign country; now would it? A set radius for a particular custom audience is a great way to optimize your ad spend budget and make sure your message gets to those who matter most to achieve your goals. 

If you’ve begun capturing customer emails, you’re already in great shape. Through Facebook Ads Manager, you can import your audience list as a CSV file to build your custom audience. Additionally, if you’ve installed the Facebook Pixel, a piece of tracking code, on the backend of your website, you’ll be able to see when Facebook / Instagram users visit and interact with your website, your mobile app, and your social accounts.

Once your Pixel is active, here are a few types of custom audiences you can build and leverage to make sure your ads are getting in front of those who have already interacted with your company:  

  • Customer Files
  • Website Traffic
  • App Activity
  • Social Media Engagement 

 I cannot stress how important these four custom audiences are when you’re trying to place a specific advertisement in front of a specific set of individuals. Not only can you make sure that your ad is only seen by those you’re targeting but more importantly you can be sure that your ad will not be displayed to those you exclude from your audience set.  

Creating Lookalike Audiences

Another excellent feature of Facebook Ads Manager is that you can use existing data from your website’s analytics, in addition to your customer email list, to create a Lookalike Audience. This simply means that you’re giving Facebook’s machine learning technology a depiction of your ideal customer and telling its algorithm to go out and find other individuals who have similar demographics, interests, or behaviors. 

Lookalike Audiences are incredibly impactful when looking to build up your customer base and reach individuals who will most likely engage with your brand; they may just not know about your product or services yet!   

Know Your Networks – Which Medium for Your Message?

Determining the ultimate purpose of your ad and taking into consideration the intent of your audience can help you decide which social media platform you should utilize for the most favorable return on your advertising investment.  Here are two examples of different social media platforms serving different advertising purposes: 

  • Does your company take a visual approach to sell a particular product or service?  Facebook and Instagram are excellent for those looking to create shoppable posts. 
  • Who are you selling to? B2C or B2B? – For B2B ads, consider tapping into LinkedIn Advertising, given the platform’s status as the fastest-growing B2B social network. 

Though it may seem complicated initially, with the right guidance and a little bit of practice, you can master building custom audiences to make sure that you’re reaching the right people with the right message to meet your goals. If you have any questions, I’d be more than happy to schedule a consultation with you to help improve your social media advertising efforts. Please fill out a contact form or give me a call! 

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